Reasons why I hate exercise #2: Exercise classes.
Some people look great in lycra.
Jane Fonda, Mad Lizzie.
Natural gym bunnies who look fantastic when touching their toes and doing star jumps. No wonder John Travolta wanted to get physical with Olivia Newton John.
Others struggle. I'm more Waynetta Sleep than Green Goddess.
But a lack of natural co-ordination and abdominal muscles hasn't stopped me from flaunting my limitations in front of an audience.
Taking part in a dance class or group exercise session is great motivation.
Or just humiliation en masse.
A sweaty sea of middle agers dancing around to high nrg beats from the 1990s, like Michaela Strachan in dayglo on The Hitman and Her.
It's more like The Really Wild Show when superfit instructor, Candy, singles me out.
She must be able to sniff out my weakness (or maybe my lack of Mum deodorant) as she tries to correct my curved stretch.
I try to camouflage amid a huddle of lilac lycra, but she patrols the room, scanning for prey,
Soon she tells me to drop to the floor and give her 20. What is this, 'An Officer and a Gentleman'?
The whole class is staring at me in pity as I feebly attempt a press up to the sounds of Big Fun.
After a cough and a splutter and my tales of heart murmurs, she disowns me and demonstrates her ability to do the splits and file her nails at the same time. It's called multi-tasking, she says.
Well, I suspect she's never made an Iron Man costume out of silver foil and spoons, while cooking Spaghetti Hoops and hoovering up Lego. Ha!
Not born to dance
I'm transported back in time, and the weary ballet teacher is trying to contort my pigeon toes into first position, Chaplin style - yet they insist on pointing in.
Candy is bronzed and gorgeous in a Jet from Gladiators way; this lioness can crack walnuts with her shiny pink fluorescent buttocks, and take out small children with one swish of her shiny mane. She looks effortlessly casual and ready for a lettuce lunch date with Louie Spence.
I feel uncomfortable in my unflattering, mis-matched T-shirt, baggy gussetted leggings and husband's Bart Simpson socks.
I don't even have a neat dusty pink, Pineaple Dance gym bag, with accessorising keyring. Instead, all my worldly possessions are clumsily crammed into an oversized, peeling, Disney Store carrier bag.
What's with the extreme clobber? I've not seen this much hi vis and Persil whites since I thought George was straight.
Plus, there are more camel toes than the Sahara.
Still, I have a full face of make up, as the sweat slides my mascara down my cheeks. It actually looks like I'm crying to the warm up exercises of Celine Dion's My heart will go on.
I'm just not flexible.
No retreat, no surrender
Yes, I can shake my booty to Irene Cara in a club. But it's dark and vodka is involved.
But in this unforgiving strip lighted, reflective hall of mirrors, I am exposed and vulnerable.
This torturous hour will leave me gasping for water and a rapid escape, like I've been trapped at a Bieber gig.
But there is no mercy from Sensei and her enthused disciples of Pan's People.
We attempt that stalwart of dancer-cise moves, the grapevine.
My ears prick up at the thought of a large glass of Pinot.
I do the opposite moves to everybody else.
Maybe it's because I'm surrounded by full length mirrors and it confuses me that everything's in reverse.
Or maybe I'm just terrified by the reflection of my out of shape physique, the (now curly) hair that's stuck to my sweaty, beetroot face, and the rather unfetching B.O. patches under my stubbly pits.
I try to 'dab' with a towel. But I don't have a nice fluffy, Lenor scented hand towel like everybody else. It's a giant,off white family towel that was pilfered from the posh health club, and is now stained in Nice & Easy.
I take a swig out of the old 'Thomas' drinks bottle that I grabbed from the car boot. But it's black inside and loaded with warm stagnant water and an old plaster, left over from a visit to the Little Shites playcentre two years ago.
Some gentler routines concentrate on the pelvic floor exercises. These fanny crunches cause great excitement amid the NCT lot.
Now we've moved onto Bums and Tums. Short of a fortnight's all-inclusive break to Bali with a registered plastic surgeon, I doubt this butt or gut will ever see a leotard again.
What a plank
I've tried various classes, but the result is never good. The clue's in the title; workout.
Spinning - The bike was set up for a six foot four athlete and my feet could not reach the pedals. When I tried to adjust the seat, I catapulted forward and had a 'backie' on the pensioner in front, while her wig was knocked onto the instructor's tape deck.
Steps - This did not involve dancing around to Tragedy, but steppping on and off a box, a bit like the IKEA ones the boys used to reach the toilet seat. It merely reminded me that I needed the loo. And new knees.
AI always stop off at the chippy on the way back. Well I bloody worked hard for that burger....
The good news is that in a few months time I will be eligible for the Fit at 40 class.
I doubt there'll be much squatting without the need for a Tena Lady, and I think they'll curtail the lunges faster than you can say "hip replacement."
Time to stop off at the chippy on the way home. Well, I bloody worked hard for that burger....